The amazing Ashly Downey, Rory Frederick (3.5) and Max Greyson (1.5)
Ashly has always been quite thin and underweight, she also has naturally low blood pressure and had simple fainting episodes throughout her life. It was during her pregnancies that she felt her most healthy and beautiful. She gained weight and felt better than ever before. Still, the comments that others made about her body were often insensitive. She was simultaneously told that she shouldn't lose her baby weight because she looked better and that she was so skinny she shouldn't have anything to worry about.
Ashly's first pregnancy with Rory went well, however, her second trimester screen showed some genetic markers that caused her doctors concern. She began having increased ultrasounds and monitoring but no complications arose. Because of her doctors concern, Ashly was induced at her due and felt a lot of pressure to deliver before she and her baby were ready. She tore badly which seemed to be further validation that things were happening too soon. While she bonded with Rory immediately she wasn't able to breastfeed as she'd hoped.
Ashly's second pregnancy ended in miscarriage around 9 weeks and she conceived Max very soon after. She stayed with the same provider but was able to better advocate for herself and avoid some of the additional screenings he'd suggested. Her second trimester screen showed the same markers but she saw a geneticist who was unconcerned. Ashly's doctor still pushed for her to be induced on her due date and she continued to push back. She felt like she was on the clock to deliver her last week and was lucky to go into labor on her own just days before her due date. Max was born and was able to latch without issue.
While Ashly had felt immediately connected to Rory she didn't have the same experience with Max. She felt postpartum depression creeping in and credits her dedication to breastfeeding for giving them a means of connecting. She isn't someone who likes to be touched much anyway so there was some aversion and a bit of an adjustment period.
Reading the stories of other women and knowing that she wasn't alone has helped Ashly along the way often through her motherhood journey and she hopes that by sharing her own story she can provide that same identification to others. Ashly says that so often women minimize their experiences by saying that their stories aren't anything special but there isn't any text book or typical every story is worthy of being heard.